SHOREVIEW — The first virtual meeting of the Shoreview City Council was not without a technical difficulty or two, but still allowed council members to conduct regular business amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The council’s April 6 meeting was held via Zoom, a video conferencing app, which enabled council members to attend while maintaining social distancing guidelines. Mayor Sandy Martin and City Manager Terry Schwerm were among the only present in the council chambers — and even they sat 12 feet apart.
Martin began the meeting with an update on the city’s response to COVID-19. Per state and federal guidelines, City Hall has been closed through April 10, and the Shoreview Community Center has been closed through May 1. Recreation programs and citywide events have likewise been canceled through May 1.
Both City Council and Planning Commission meetings will continue to be held virtually for the time being; 70% of city employees, Martin said, are currently working from home. Meanwhile, essential services “such as public safety, fire protection, water and sewer” have continued without interruption.
“I want to thank our residents for their support and their understanding during these very difficult times,” Martin added. “Our community has shown time and time again (that) we’re strong and caring, and I’m confident that we will get through this unprecedented situation together.”
Meeting by teleconference allowed the City Council to move forward with plans to bring electric vehicle charging stations to the Shoreview Community Center. The council accepted the quote authorizing a professional services agreement with ChargePoint for the installation and rental of two electric vehicle charging stations, as well as a quote for electrical work from Aid Electric, a Blaine-based company that will prepare the site for installations.
When the work is completed, the Shoreview Community Center will be home to two charging stations, each capable of charging two vehicles at a time. To incentivize users to share, the stations will be free for two hours, then followed by an incrementally increasing cost, Maloney said. A one-hour charge gives an electric vehicle the ability to drive an additional 10 to 20 miles.
In other action, the council approved a bid for city project 20-01, regarding improvements to Suzanne Pond, Gramsie Pond and Gramsie Road. The project will primarily refurbish the existing lift station with new pumps, inlet and outlet piping and a control panel. The project also includes the installation of a backup generator, the elevation of Gramsie Road, and the installation of new stormwater collection piping for the newly raised section of Gramsie Road.
Public Works Director Mark Maloney, who presented the information to the council, said these improvements are needed — particularly the lift station. “If it weren’t for that station, the pond would rise to a level that would dramatically increase the flooding risk of the houses around the pond,” he said.
The council approved plans and specifications Feb. 18. Bids were opened March 24. Vinco Inc., based in Forest Lake, submitted the lowest bid at $750,8000 and was awarded the construction contract. The total estimated cost for the project is $950,000, which includes allowances for engineering, administration and contingency items. That money will come from the city’s surface water fund.
Maloney expressed thankfulness for the council’s ability to meet despite the current pandemic.
“The staff — and I’m sure the residents in the area — greatly appreciate the ability for the City Council to consider this bid award,” he said.
“A project like this has a significant lead time for ordering components, and that process can’t begin until there’s a contract awarded, and so it might not appear that there’s a flurry of activity right away, but there’s a lot of work going on in the background. Considering this bid award tonight keeps the project on schedule,” he said.